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The BookBrowse Review

Published September 20, 2017

ISSN: 1930-0018

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Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
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Novels


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History, Science & Current Affairs


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

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Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care
  • Notable:
    Recycle Book Club
  • Wordplay:
    Y Can't M A S P O O A S E
  • Book Giveaway:
    If the Creek Don't Rise
  • Quote:
    The only completely consistent people are the dead
Book Jacket

Five-Carat Soul
by James McBride
26 Sep 2017
320 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books
ISBN-13: 9780735216693
Critics:
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Exciting new fiction from James McBride, the first since his National Book Award–winning novel The Good Lord Bird.

The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before - spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They're funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic - all told with McBride's unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives. 

As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don't fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.

"Starred Review. Stellar... McBride's short stories joyfully abound with indelible characters whose personal philosophies are far wiser than their circumstances allow... [He] brings the snappy satire that endeared him to fans of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird and the courage and pathos that shone in The Miracle at St. Anna." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Humming with invention and energy, the stories collected in McBride's first fiction book since his National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird again affirm his storytelling gifts." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. McBride emerges here as a master of what some might call 'wisdom fiction,' common to both The Twilight Zone and Bernard Malamud, offering instruction and moral edification to his readers without providing an Aesop-like moral." - Kirkus

James McBride is an award-winning writer and composer. His critically acclaimed memoir, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, explores the author's struggle to understand his biracial identity and the experience of his white, Jewish mother, who moved to Harlem, married a black man, and raised 12 children. The Color of Water won the 1997 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Literary Excellence, was an ALA Notable Book of the Year, and spent more than two years on the bestseller list. Chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the 25 books of 1996 to remember, The Color of Water has sold more than 1.3 million copies in the United States alone and is now required reading at numerous colleges and high schools across the country. It has also been published in 16 languages and in more than 20 countries.

After the success of The Color of Water, McBride turned to fiction, albeit inspired by his family's history. He recalled the war stories of his uncle and cousin, who served in the all-black 92nd Infantry Division, and began researching World War II in Italy -- particularly the clashes between Italian Partisans and the German army. Miracle at St Anna was published in 2002. His next novel, Song Yet Sung, was published in 2008.

McBride is a former staff writer for The Washington Post, People Magazine and The Boston Globe. His work has also appeared in Essence, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Aside from his literary honors, McBride is the recipient of several awards for his work as a composer in musical theater, including the 1996 American Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award, the 1996 ASCAP Richard Rodgers Horizons Award, and the American Music Festival's 1993 Stephen Sondheim Award. He has written the score for several musicals, including the highly acclaimed, award-winning show "Bobos."

McBride, an accomplished saxophonist who has toured with renowned jazz singers and musicians,  has written songs (music and lyrics) for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., Gary Burton, Silver Burdett Textbooks, and for the PBS television character "Barney."

James is a native New Yorker and a graduate of  New York City public schools. He studied composition at The Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio and received his Masters in Journalism from Columbia University in New York at age 22. He holds several honorary doctorates and is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

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